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East Africa & Great Lakes


DRC has been present in Uganda since 1997, implementing projects across the country with a current focus on the refugee situation in the West Nile and southwest regions as well as a focus on non-refugee humanitarian and development needs in the northern and Karamoja regions of the country.

Current situation

Uganda continues to host the largest number of refugees in sub-Saharan Africa, with a total registered population of over 1,500,000, out of which 60 percent are from South Sudan and 30 percent from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Overall, Uganda has received more than 112,000 new arrivals in 2022, exceeding planning figures and further challenging the already limited resources funding the response. 

Over 95 percent of the total refugee population currently qualifies for humanitarian assistance with inter-agency data showing high levels of both economic and protection-related vulnerabilities across the settlements. Interagency assessments estimate a significant amount of underspending by refugees on essential needs because of inadequate income, subsequently leading to heightened protection risks, as well as protection risks leading to heightened barriers to engaging in economic activities.

The Government of Uganda maintains an open-door policy for refugees as well as a commitment to the Comprehensive Refugee Response Framework that allows for freedom of movement, access to essential government services and the right to work. However, this model is under stress due to inadequate funding and, in particular, insufficient investment into longer-term, self-reliance and development-oriented interventions.

Beyond the refugee context, DRC Uganda is also closely monitoring the humanitarian and development context in the Karamoja region in the far east of the country. Despite relative stability across the in recent years, there are indications of an increase in insecurity as seen through a resurgence of cattle rustling, an inflow of arms, forceful disarmament and growing mistrust between communities, local authorities and security providers.

This situation has been exacerbated by declining livelihoods opportunities and food insecurity caused by climate variability linked to prolonged drought. More significantly, new forms of conflict have emerged in the post-disarmament period, influenced by the growth of the extractive sector and development of large infrastructure projects.  

Core sectors Uganda

Economic Recovery
Humanitarian Disarmament and Peacebuilding
Shelter and Settlements
Camp Coordination and Camp Management

Displacement trends

Source: | UNHCR

22 Aug 2023

The scoping forestry project

27 Jul 2023

Working with local organizations to develop a Theory of Change for long-term gender transformation and economic empowerment for women

22 Jun 2023

Press Release: Uganda Cash Consortium Receives €6 Million in Funding from European Union to Provide Cash Assistance to Refugees in Uganda

15 Dec 2022

Cash transfers are rebuilding lives and creating resilient communities in Uganda

25 Nov 2022

Local Anchor Groups: A localized approach to address gender-based violence

25 Jul 2022

Press release: Uganda Cash Consortium Receives €6m in Funding from the EU to Provide Cash Assistance to Refugees

DocumentsAll Documents

Uganda Fact Sheet

31 Jan 2023

EAGL: Annual report 2021

01 May 2022

Preliminary Assessment Findings: Participation of Persons of Concern in Humanitarian Action

01 Jul 2018

Why we are there

DRC contributes to the efforts of the Government of Uganda’s Office of the Prime Minister, UNHCR and the wider NGO community to support refugees both immediately upon their arrival, and later towards achieving longer-term solutions.

In alignment with DRC’s response framework, the country portfolio and strategy are characterised by emergency response, solutions to displacement and addressing root causes programming.

DRC Uganda’s programming contributes to Uganda’s refugee response plans for South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo, which seeks “to meet humanitarian needs” while also serving “as a transition towards sustainable refugee response programming.”

DRC’s programming equally contributes to the Government of Uganda’s Third National Development Plan, which aspires towards “secure, self-reliant and resilient refugee and host community households in refugee hosting districts with a goal of ensuring refugees and host communities are socially, economically and financially included in a sustainable manner in local development.” 

What we do

DRC Uganda continues to play a key role in the provision of protection services, working to improve protection of the hard-to-reach and expanding access to legal aid. DRC is currently UNHCR’s implementing partner for protection in Imvepi, Kiryandongo, Lobule and Rhino Camp settlements, where collectively over 275,000 refugees reside. Within these settlements, DRC supports community-based protection and provides child protection, legal aid and gender-based violence prevention and response services.

DRC’s works closely with the national NGOs Humanitarian and Development Services (HADS) as well as the Uganda Law Society (ULS) as part of the organization’s commitment to localization.

Contributing to the Grand Bargain commitments, DRC Uganda is an advocate and implementer of cash assistance programming, actively participating in the Uganda Cash Working Group and Uganda Collaborative Cash Delivery network.

As lead of the ECHO-funded Uganda Cash Consortium, DRC collaborates with the Lutheran World Federation and the Uganda Red Cross Society to provide cash assistance, including cash for education, across the majority of refugee settlements.

DRC promotes financial inclusion and the use of digital cash assistance through both traditional financial services providers and, increasingly, through collaboration with financial technology initiatives.

DRC Uganda has also contributed to the economic recovery and initiatives to enhance market access and climate resilience through programming supporting rural community development, water resource management, household-level permaculture and livelihoods.

One of DRC Uganda’s flagship programmes, the Danida-funded Northern Uganda Resilience Initiative (NURI), collaborates with local government and communities to implement much-needed infrastructure that enhances access to markets and essential services for agricultural-based communities through environmentally sensitive and regenerative approaches.

With financial support from the International Water Management Institute, DRC Uganda is contributing to greening the settlements and improving household food security and nutritional diversity through permaculture and resource-recovery activities.

Working in collaboration with

European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations
Bureau of Population, Refugees, and Migration
Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Danish Ministry of Foreign Affairs
International Water Management Institute